So…. I’ve been toiling away here till all hours of the night lately. work, work, work. Which is all good, but I’ve been grateful for a bit of break the past two days… if only because I desperately needed to do some laundry and other assorted, seriously banal household stuff. And you know, just take a break from sitting in this chair for hours and hours on end. I’m hoping to get a couple of hours today to work on personal work (um, yeah, so you think I could possibly work the word “work” in here any more?! possible?)
Whilst (whilst!) I’m toiling away, there are usually a couple times a day when I hit send and have 15 minutes or an hour while I wait for client feedback or approval. Often I use these breaks to do things like, well, you know, pee and eat dinner and stuff… but sometimes I just sit here and draw, waiting for the mailbox ping that tells me my client has approved the design and I can get back to it . This is one of the sketches I did last week over the course of a couple of days. I don’t know where the Japanese influence came from, though I suspect it was from my exhaustive searching of the net for paper lantern examples. I was actually looking for Mexican Fiesta lanterns, but inevitably came across lots of Japanese paper lanterns. And I got into this feathery line thing that was just fun to practice, though once again, true to form, I overworked this sketch and should’ve stopped and put it away about an hour before I did. But whatever. I still sort of like this, or the idea of it, and am filing it as an idea for future personal work. (sketch is ballpoint pen on bond paper)
Happy Friday all! Don’t work too hard!
wow. Something happened today that almost NEVER happens. I scanned in a painting I wasn’t completely sold on and actually ended up liking the on screen version of it better than the actual painting. hmmm. Interesting, very very interesting. I’m thinking it’s probably the nature of the screen (being backlit, of course) Anyhoo…
Something has switched on inside me in the past three weeks and all I want to do is paint. I mean I am FULLY jazzed about it, 24 hours a day. I am bursting with ideas and the energy to try them out. I haven’t felt this way in… well, I don’t quite remember ever feeling this way. Maybe back in art school. Problem is that, of course, there are like 900 other things for me to do right now, none of them having to do with painting. sigh. But I’ve been carving out the time whenever I can (and stealing time from other areas of my life ie: laundry which explains why I am wearing the same sweater I have been wearing for the past three days. Same socks too) and just pushing the paint blobs around. Because I’m afraid if I don’t act on this energy now, it’s going to fizzle out entirely and I’ll miss the opportunity to get my inner artist on.
I have this plan to paint a representation of every month of the year. This is December. There may be another December in the works too, as this painting was not what i had pictured in my head at all. Rather, it was the picture that I felt I had to get rid of before I could do the “real” one. See, I have a major tendency toward overworking and over “decorating” everything I paint/illustrate and I’m trying to break that by using reverse psychology on myself and going full bore (boar?!) and completely indulging my tendencies instead of battling it, thinking that I can work it out of my system. It’s kinda backfiring though because while I’m not 100 percent satisfied with the results (I’m hovering around 72 percent on this one) , I’m having a BLAST painting this way, trying out new stuff (like I’ve never painted a horse before. I’ve drawn a couple, but never attempted painting one). so hmmmm… I dunno. Maybe I will just go on indulging myself and see where that leads.
so what do you think? I’m asking for honest feedback here. Please don’t just tell me it’s pretty. Tell me if you think it’s too juvenile, too overworked, too cliche. I can hack it. Promise. I really want to know what you think… and I don’t care if you’re an artist or know anything about illustration/art at all. I’ll give you my own thoughts about it after I hear yours. Here’s a detail (the actual painting is about 18 inches wide by 13 inches high and I had to scan it in in four parts and tile it together in photoshop. My kingdom for a huge flatbed scanner). It’s painted with acrylics on illustration board by the way and really cheap paintbrushes because I completely savage paintbrushes so there is no sense in buying the good ones!)
So, yeah. I’ve been sort of blah on blogging lately. I find this happens to me when I get very visually focused… the words, they evacuate. Sometimes they tip out my ear when I sleep or drop out a pant leg as I’m shuffling around, a jumble of random letters and broken up words lying on my pillow, collecting on the floor. I look at them and I think “o, pretty. Collage!” and then I sweep them into a corner where they get all wound up in a cyclone of dog hair and dust and hoovered up by Johnny Clean, the man who lives to vacumn his Saturday mornings away.
The result is, of course, that I have a major backload of stuff to tell you. Like, I am now vegetarian (well, almost, I still eat fish and seafood). And have been for nearly a year. Forgot to tell you that. And yoga, I’m big on that too. Been doing lots and lots of yoga. For more than a year. And all sorts of other miscellaneous stuff that I keep meaning to tell you, but don’t. Because the words fall down my pant leg and vanish.
But the big thing is: I have somehow found my style. The style. wow. It sort of just arrived one day a couple of weeks ago and it’s been sticking around and feeling so awfully good. It’s still shifting a bit as I work through various projects and at first I was reluctant to post about it, all superstitious that it was gonna up and vanish on me the minute I did, but no… I think I’ve found the knack. Above is the first absolutely complete illo that I’ve done in this new vein. I am working on three other illos in the same style with plans for more, more, more, but they are in various stage of completion and progress has been interrupted a tad by paying design gigs that rolled in this week.
A bit about what I mean by style: for quite sometime I’ve been looking for a way to keep my drawing up front in a way that I can take from drawing board to computer screen and back again and still have it feel fresh and spontaneous and consistent whether I’m working in traditional media or digitally. And I needed to find a way to do it with relative speed and ease. And I’ve found it, at last. It’s sort of been there all along, I just needed to recognize it and apply it with more intention than I had been doing previously. And figuring it out was mostly about just relaxing and trying to let my own way of seeing and drawing speak for itself, just be. And most importantly, stripping back to basics and not over thinking it, overwhelming the line work. Let myself do the things I do well and jettison the rest.
This is a portrait of one of the greatest influences in my life these days, my darling friend Penelope Dullaghan who has been crucial in supporting my development as an artist, encouraging me on my way, celebrating my little victories on the path and making me laugh when I have tripped and cracked my tailbone. Thank you, Pen, for being there so consistently for me, for always knowing what to say and for making my days lighter, brighter, better always.
sending powerful good thoughts to: Tara, Ali, Kate, Bob, and Louie the dog. Wishing each of you health, healing, and happiness.
So this is not even remotely NYC related. Oh, wait it is…. remotely. It’s the intial illustration I did for a recent project from my one regular client in NYC. It changed dramatically from this… went somewhere far more flat and graphic, but I myself far prefer this illo. I wanted a real sort of fashion illustration flare to it… loose and quick and impressionistic. Parts of this really work for me (other parts not so much… the energy kind of dissipates as it moves upwards, if you know what I mean… it looks a little stiff and blocky in places. But I love the shoes and the flare of the left jean leg.) Anyway, I just thought I’d post it as a reminder to myself of sorts. What I’m reminding myself of, I’m not entirely sure… I guess just that I can break out of the box every once and a while and do something footloose and fancy-free.